Are employees really underdogs in a David v. Goliath conflict? (1 Sam 17:1-58.)
Businesses are often viewed as giant Goliaths against employees who are seen as vulnerable Davids. But Goliath had many vulnerabilities, and David had many strengths. Despite their size and strength, businesses have vulnerabilities that employees and their attorneys often take advantage of. Let's take a look:
- Giant sized. Goliath was BIG! 9'9”, conveying an image of power and strength like that of a business compared with an employee. That image alone often impacts jurors in a jury trial, if you let it get that far.
- Armored - Goliath was weighed down by over 125 pounds of heavy bronze armor, fastening him in place like a sitting duck in anticipation of close-range combat, compared with the swift movements of a young man hopping from boulder to boulder. David, who slew lions and bears to protect his sheep, never gave Goliath a chance to swing his sword. David slung a stone at about 85 mph with the stopping force of a 45-mm handgun. Similarly, businesses are on the receiving end of projectiles in the form of employee complaints that often seem to come from left field, or innocent sounding “questions” from employees who may later claim they were complaints that you either ignored or retaliated against them for. So, employers require more agility with its workforce.
- Blind. Goliath is blind, or myopic, as the story goes: he is slowly led down to the field of battle and then he calls for David to approach before he is able to see David with two “sticks” that are not there. David is mostly unarmored a sling and some stones. Likewise, business owners “merely trying to run a business” may be blind to employment issues or inadvertent errors that employees and their attorneys capitalize on.
- Hubris. Goliath is insulted as he scoffs at David's unarmed appearance. Similarly, arrogant (or inadvertent) business owners or managers frequently fail to take inventory of employee issues or review employment practices or update policies. Often, it does not take much review for costly errors to be revealed.
- Authority. Both sides in the David v. Goliath fight believed in their own divine authority. Likewise, an owner of a business may believe that as the boss his rules over the employee will prevail. But like David, a higher authority in the form of laws and government agencies protect employees. Overpowering authority of government agencies may go so far as to prosecute employers as criminal “wage thieves” for what often end up being inadvertent miscalculations.
So, an employee (and his attorney) is not really the underdog – he has powerful advantages just as David had advantages over Goliath. Can you address your company's vulnerabilities?